With most stranded pilgrims now rescued from flood-hit zones of Uttarakhand, the government now faces another challenging task — telling the genuine from false cases of compensation claims.
The signs of things to come are visible. At least three incidents of fraudulent claim have come to light in the past couple of days. Government sources said the trickle would take the shape of a deluge very soon.
On Thursday, the police detained a woman from Bijnore after she appeared at the Sahasradhara helipad, claiming compensation for her husband and children, who, she said, had gone missing from Kedarnath.
Police officials at the helipad became suspicious after her account didn’t sound credible and she was taken for questioning. On Tuesday, a man had tried to claim compensation for her deceased mother, who, it turned out, had died three years ago.
“This is just the beginning. We expect many more such people to come forward. We are also expecting multiple claims for a single person,” said a senior state government official who didn’t wish to be named.
What those making false claims perhaps don’t know is that compensation for death or insurance claim will be released only after a death certificate is produced or the government issues a certificate presuming a missing person is dead.
“Unlike in a train accident or plane crash, where a list of passengers is available and it is easy to identify the number of casualties, in a natural calamity, where most victims are not locals, it becomes difficult to ascertain (the facts),” the official said.